I support Occupy Wall Street. I’m also hip to the fact that Wall Street occupies both sides of Congress and, let’s be honest, the war chests of everyone (everyone) (update: my bad, not EVERYONE) running for President.
I was talking with a friend today about the differences and similarities between Occupy and the Tea Party. Both are mad at Wall Street and Washington, but for some reason, neither of them publicly go after both with equal vigor. The Tea Party centralizes its energy for saving the middle class on the problems in Washington; Occupy uses its middle-class-saving-indignation on, well, occupying Wall Street.
Both movements say they want to save the middle class. Both were born of the middle class. Both have fringes motivated by things that have nothing whatsoever to do with saving the middle class. Corporate media, beholden as it is to the fortunes of Wall Street and the talking points of political candidates, would do well to hold up the narratives that both groups are crazy, that one is racist and fascist and the other is socialist and lazy. It’s in the best interests of the media conglomerates, of CEOs, and of the entrenched political culture that these groups continue to define themselves in opposition to each other. The Tea Party would do well to occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street would do well to Occupy The Capital.
Obviously, members of each group have political goals that don’t easily mesh. But the larger narratives sound like all the economic and political complaints you’ve ever heard from everyone you’ve ever known: the government is broken, corporations are killing us, special interests (that nexus of corporate and political incest) run the country. The Tea Party and Occupy agree on that much. If “that much” is enough to start an even larger conversation about the futility of our political parties and the false options occupying our political system, Wall St and Pennsylvania Ave will finally have Main Street to answer to. Who says it can’t happen? Ideologues and everyone invested in maintaining the status quo.
2012 has to be different. America has to be different. I refuse to live as an adult in a political and economic system that infantilizes every important issue to the point of absurd farce. I refuse to leave that kind of social chaos to my children. We’ve been an adolescent nation for so long. It’s time to grow up, get serious, and put these labels away. We all know who the really bullies in the school yard are, and together, we are bigger, stronger, and smarter than they have ever dared to think.